FAQ

How do I order cards?
What does all that stuff near the “recycled” logo on the back of my Sappycard mean?
Why do the cards have different prices?
How did Sappycards begin?
Who makes these cards?
Where do the background designs come from?
Dude, why should I pay for something I can make on my home printer?
Are these anti-cards?
Do you have a card for such-and-such an occasion?
Would you like to hear my idea for a card?

How do I order cards?

Just click ‘Add to Cart’ to add cards to your cart, and then, once you’ve reached the minimum order amount of $10, click ‘View Cart’ in the upper right and choose either the Paypal or Google Checkout button to checkout on one of those secure sites. Sappycards.com does not store any of your payment information, it only passes your cart info along to the payment processor.

If you’re a wholesale orderer, go to the Wholesale Ordering instructions.

What does all that stuff near the “recycled” logo on the back of my Sappycard mean?

“100% recycled” means that all the material that went into making the actual paper came from existing paper.  No new trees – sustainably harvested or otherwise – were cut down.

“Post-consumer” (or “PC”) content is the percentage of the recycled paper that went through the cycle of being used by a consumer and then collected and reprocessed, as opposed to Pre-consumer content (like manufacturing scrap) that has always been re-used by cost-sensitive producers.

(Before the general public became aware of the importance of post-consumer content, companies wanting to appear “green” could re-label many ordinary papers containing pre-consumer content as “recycled” while doing nothing to alter the paper’s actual content or address the sustainability of its production. Hence the label on Sappycards Series I-III: “just because it says ‘recycled’, doesn’t mean it is.”)

Processed Chlorine Free (PCF), Elemental Chlorine Free (ECF), and Totally Chlorine Free (TCF) refer to different extents to which chlorine (a toxic bleaching agent) has been used in the production of a paper. Rather than trying to explain the difference, here, I’ll refer you to the California Government’s Chlorine-Free Paper page, which does a good job.

“100% Hydropower” means that all the electricity involved in the paper’s manufacturing was generated from moving water. Read more about hydropower.

(In addition, though it doesn’t say so on the backs of any cards, the displays offered on Sappycards.com are made of recyclable steel and are manufactured in a facility that uses Illinois’s largest solar panel installation. And Sappycards are shipped using 100% recyclable paper.)

Why do different cards have different prices?

Sappycards are limited edition, meaning I print a set amount, and once they’re gone – they’re gone.  I’ve always tried to set an initial price that’s affordable to many people. That price is reasonable compared to similar independent, boutique greeting card lines. However, once inventory falls below a certain threshold, my limited edition cards become collectable, they’re made unavailable in wholesale quantities, and the price increases. Then, once I only have a few left, the price doubles.

Series VI cards have a higher initial price because they cost more to make.

Who makes these cards?

My name is Timothy.  I come up with the words and designs.  But it’s not just me.  It’s all the relationships I’ve ever had or might have in the future.  The so-called “social expression” industry is what it is because of what we allow ourselves to express to each other, as social animals using language and other cultural practices.  So there’s a sort of built-in collectivity.  But not only that: my graphic-designer friend Vinh helps me turn the designs into computer files.  Printers in Detroit and Ann Arbor have helped print them.  Web-designer friends have helps me make different versions of the website. My friend Dan helps with order fulfillment. My wife Andrea helps me constantly. And somehow in the end it all comes together.

How did Sappycards begin?

I could never bring myself to buy the greeting cards I found at stores for my loved ones.  So I started making my own, incorporating my love of writing and xerography (a fancy word for the art of photocopying). Sappycards come from real relationships I have, not people sitting around in an office trying to discover with research and focus groups which “social expressions” will sell.

One Valentine’s Day, I gave my girlfriend about 50 cards, all lined up in a row leading around her apartment.  Making those cards, I realized that between them and the cards I’d made for friends and family over the years, I had a pretty sizeable collection of designs.  So I assembled them into book form, so I could have them all in one place to look through and remember.

When I took these greeting-card-books to the Underground Publishing Conference, an annual gathering of people who make zines and other independent publications, and people there responded well to them, I decided it might be worthwhile to try to print more and sell them. Having recently received a highly unmarketable degree and a bunch of writing-competition award money from college, I set out with a strong DIY ethic to start Sappycards as a business in 2003.

It still hasn’t gotten old for me to hear stories or see in person customers standing there at the card rack reading every single card, laughing or crying or both, and even calling their friends and reading them all over the phone, and then buying a handful all at once. So, after a brief hiatus between 2009-2010 while I was busy with many other things, Sappycards continues….

Where do the background designs come from?

The background designs of Series I-III come from minimally retouched photocopies of old book covers, stitching patterns, textiles, doormats, and other ordinary items commonly found in basements and dumpsters.

Series IV and VI feature what my local Mailpiece Design Analyst termed “security screens,” those designs they put on the insides of envelopes so you can’t read through them.

Dude, why should I pay for something I can make on my home printer?

Nothing would make me more happy than you going off and making your own cards, like I did.  Except maybe you buying a few of mine first.  And if you do (buy a Sappycard) you’re getting a limited edition print with the words of an award-winning writer set over custom xerographic backgrounds and professionally printed on high quality 100% recycled heavy cardstock that’s been scored for easy folding.  Many of these papers are only available in cartons, which means quantities of 500 huge sheets, for a few hundred dollars.  Some papers are no longer available at all. So, although the basic design of Sappycards is intended to look do-able – to remind people that greeting cards are something everyone can make – it’s actually tricky to get the full effect on your average desktop printer.  And good luck even convincing a commercial printer to attempt the light-on-dark effect of Series VI.

Plus, you’re most likely buying a Sappycard from a cool, independent business that supports local artists and makes life more interesting in your community.  These businesses tend to be less bad than others.

Are these anti-cards?

No. Sappycards are not anti-cards. Leave it to corporate advertisers to perfect that kind of posturing. Go ahead and buy into the Sappycards style or attitude if you must. Realize your “lifestyle” by sending greeting cards that make fun of greeting cards. But always remember: they’re still greeting cards.

Do you have a card for such-and-such an occasion?

In the menu item above labeled “CARDS”, I’ve included a list of suggestions for cards to send for specific occasions or relationships.  But I’ll never print a card that’s targeted at one specific occasion or relationship.  (Or “market.”)  People feel all kinds of ways about all kinds of people at all kinds of times, not just the traditional “card-giving” holidays.  Use your imagination.  Give someone a card they wouldn’t expect, when they wouldn’t expect it, and I think it will mean more to them.

Would you like to hear my idea for a card?

Sure, but I have no practice (and thus no policy) for accepting submissions from other writers.